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June 7th, 2013
03:53 PM ET

Joshua Cooke on the impact of "The Matrix" on his mindset: "I would see myself in that role ... I would see myself shooting the bullies and people who had hurt me in my life"

This evening at 9, "Piers Morgan Live" airs a very special edition of the primetime program, welcoming Joshua Cooke to speak candidly and emotionally in his first television interview since murdering his parents in 2003.

Joining Piers Morgan from behind bars, Cooke described the well-documented influence that one particular film had over him as a teenager:

"'The Matrix' impacted me a lot. When I would watch "The Matrix," I would see myself in that role. I would see myself shooting the bullies and people who had hurt me in my life. And this movie was a type of a release of aggression," he tells the host. "It made me feel better when I would watch it. So I watched this movie hundreds of times."

In fact, says Cooke, he viewed his copy of "The Matrix" so frequently, it needed to be replaced:

"I watched it so much at one point, that the tape had worn out and I had to buy a new one. The video games were the same - played the same part. Video games like 'Grand Theft Auto,' 'Blood Rain,' 'Resident Evil,' 'Doom,' 'Quake,' shooter games. When I would play these games, it did a lot for me mentally for I could release my aggression with these games," reveals Cooke. "I could almost bring my fantasies to fruition. The way I would verse myself in these games, sometimes I would play them 12 to 15 hours a day without leaving my room. I would have food and all kinds of things stashed in my room so I wouldn't have to leave."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, then tune in this evening at 9 as the man who ultimately failed out of college for playing too many video games makes an emotional plea to any disturbed viewers watching from home.

Anyone wanting to talk with Cooke are encouraged to write him at:
Joshua Cooke
Inmate # 1089682
Augusta Correctional Center
1821 Estaline Valley Road
Craigsville, VA 24430
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Filed under: The Piers Morgan Interview
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Mister Peebles

    Well yet ANOTHER shooting. When are we going to wake up to the violence epidemic in this country? Yet another once "law abiding" American exercising his 2nd amendment rights. Enough was enough in Connecticut. Sadly, today is just another statistic.

    June 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Cannon

    Really anyone wanting to talk to him. ....throw away the key

    June 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sasha

    Shoulda been fried

    June 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Nada Sego

    My late brother attacked my parents and my father died from the assault. He suffered from paranoia schizophrenia which is tremendously misunderstood . He killed himself two days later and to this day, I don't believe he got proper support and medical intervention for his disease. I don't blame him for the attacks; it was the disease that killed my family. Schizophrenia is widely misunderstood and more attention and greater support needs to be given to the patients who suffer from it. Mental disease is not something to dismiss or to be taken lightly.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sandangel

      I totally agree with you Nada. In my opinion I think the majority have a lack of understanding of mental illness, the way it affects the person who suffers from it, the dynamics of how it affects the entire family. Our society has such a long way to go to get a grasp on this.

      I am truly sorry for your losses and the pain that this has caused you and your family. God Bless!

      June 13, 2013 at 12:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Patti

    Piers,
    Unlike many on this site quick to judge out of ignorance I see what Joshua is saying and actually I feel some level of compassion. With all the violence today, gun shootings, video games that are horrific, people tethered to electronincs CONSTANTLY it is no wonder we are ALL not crazy, in fact, I think many are struggling with mental illness associated with the stimuli that as infested our society as I used to know it. I am 62 years old and I know what I am talking about. No one even knows how to talk to anyone anymore because they only know how to identify with violence in the movies, videos, school shootings, cell phones, and the list goes on and on. It is time for this country to put controls on all of this! I still want to invent a car device that if the motor is running, your cell will not work to text or look at emails. We never get away from this very negative stimili and it is causing kids like Joshua to commit awful things, especially when there is mental illness in the family blood. We as a country are not taking care of our citizens in any way, shape or manner to allow all of this to continue to infect us. Thank you for all you do Piers. I agree on the gun laws too and was raised by a gunsmith who should have never had a license to teach gun safety or purchase and sell guns.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patti

      It seems this kid is more intelligent and more remorseful than any kid or adult out there who chooses to judge him. I stand with him. And that takes guts, and have them!

      June 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • sandangel

        I too could feel his remorse and see his level of understanding of what has happened in his life. I have not seen that from someone behind bars when interviewed on TV...... EVER!

        June 13, 2013 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. elvisgirl1969

    Murderers need to be placed in prison and forgotten. Bringing them out of their cell and interviewing them on international television sends the message that murderers are celebrities. This idea leads unstable people to want to do similar crimes so they can do interviews and flaunt their crimes in front of others. I know Piers is not the only one who does this so this is my opinion for the media in general.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sandangel

      Criminals that have NO remorse for their crime are likely to seek attention for talking to the media and looking to get something out of it. But I did not see that at all from Joshua. He displayed a high level of sincerity throughout the entire interview.

      Kudos to Piers for having Joshua Cooke speak out on his show!!!

      June 13, 2013 at 12:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jacquie

    I am not interested in hearing Johusa Cooke, a killers, opinion of any other mass shooting. If you look at the billions of dollars made by the video game industry we do not see all of these kids killing their families. He did not appear remorseful or sorry. His opinions do not belong on CNN giving other unstable people the avenue to kill just because they feel like it.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sandangel

      Jacquie, he did not come across like that at all. If any unstable person watching his interview that would come to the conclusion that he was painting a picture that it's alright to go out and kill someone, then that person was not listening to what he was stating throughout the interview.

      My question to you is..... did you watch Joshua Cooke's entire interview on television? Or did you just watch the clips online that was just part of his interview? If you watched the entire interview on Piers' show I do not understand how you could not see how remorseful and sorry Joshua came across. It was right there in plain sight............. very obvious.

      June 13, 2013 at 12:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ladyatheist

    I can understand the simmering anger of someone who has been bullied from personal experience. I only snapped once, at age 9, but I felt exactly the same as he described – no emotion, just on automatic as if a character in a movie following the plot and I never watched movies or played games. I wish society would decide to do something about kids' mental health for the sake of the ill and tormented children, not just for preventing the bullies from getting killed one day. Bullying is bad because it hurts the kids being bullied. Period. It doesn't matter if the kid ever goes on a rampage.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Lel

    Mr. Piers Morgan,
    You should welcome a mental health professional to comment on your show.
    The dissociation and depersonalization that Mr. Cooke describes and attributes to influences from video games and mass media is actually a quite normal reaction to trauma (even self-caused) and likely unrelated to video games or mass media. Anyone who's fought in war or dealt with trauma often reports feelings of depersonalization and derealization, like the person doesn't exactly feel connected to their body or the world is real for some duration, and a psychiatrist would tell you this. They're normal coping strategies, and attributing them to disapproved video games or mass media instead is intellectually lazy or poor journalism.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jake

    we are a society that is too sensitive. and politically correct... hundreds of millions of kids play video games.. and have been bullied, and rejected..

    he is a murderer... don't give him an interview.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sandangel

      Jake, why did you bother watching the interview in the first place? Joshua Cooke has the right to "freedom of speech". Of course not every person that plays video games, has obsessions with certain movies and music goes off and kills people. Joshua's case goes much deeper than that, much deeper. This puzzle has many pieces involved that led to this tragedy.

      June 13, 2013 at 1:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nelson Rennie

    Joshua Cooke sounded sincere. I was not impressed with your panel of experts.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Emily

    Mr. Piers Morgan,

    Your supposed "experts" basically said that entering a world of fiction is the solution to a harsh reality! Can't you hear the insanity in their mumbo jumbo?!!!

    The Harvard woman was the most absurd of all three supposed experts. The real world is harsh but it is not the cause of violence. But your experts seem to suggest that the real world is the cause and fantasy is the effect. What if the real world is AS IT IS and fantasy contributed to the confusion that lead to the outcome.

    I obviously disagree with your experts in many ways. Someone who is troubled and immerses themselves in fantasy is much more on the path to insanity than someone that deals with reality as it is.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MJ

      Finally some sense to the discussion! I would like to add to this that a young mind is vulnerable. Children are not even fully logical until 12 years of age. The mind is very flexible and adapts and creates many confusions at a young age that can manifest later on.

      June 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kim L. Short

    At no time during the interview did I hear anyone suggest that abusive parents or violent bullies should be held accountable for the monsters they create. Did I miss it or are we waiting for a few more Columbines, Sandy Hooks, and Oklahoma City's before we're willing to address the elephant in the living room?

    June 8, 2013 at 9:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Rita

    Piers, Two days ago I called a crisis line because I wanted advice about how to handle a very tense family situation involving two brothers with personality disorders who have exhibited violence in the past. I was told to go to the emergency and ask for a social worker who would help me. So yesterday I did just that, but instead of getting advice, I was made to strip, a metal detector was used on me, and I was put in a room with video surveillance. Over the next couple hours 3 people came to speak to me. I was calm and rational, but I understand that the topic was worrying. My one brother's psychiatrist recently told me he's a "ticking time bomb", but these hospital employees were suspecting me (for just brining it up?) and in the end gave me the contact info for anxiety and panic disorder groups. Nor did they take the names of the people I was warning about, nor the psychiatrist's contact info. All of what I said could have been corroborated by others in my family and the psychiatrist, but their only interest seemed to be on how I was coping with it. I think law enforcement would be heavy handed. There's no coordination between mental health providers. I've asked for help and nothing. FYI: our childhood involved alcoholism, bullying, and neglect. I will be billed thousands of dollars for visiting the emergency room and nothing will be done for me or my family. We live in fear and have no faith in this broken system.

    June 9, 2013 at 10:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • sandangel

      Rita, I am sorry you were put through that. This is outrageous! It is no wonder why our system is so broken.

      June 13, 2013 at 1:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Susan

    I was so disappointed with the interview that you had with Larry Elders. He was so busy talking over you that he failed to see what it was you were trying to say. If anything his take on the subject was just as bad as that jurors. But as you saw he avoided answering your questions.

    July 18, 2013 at 12:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Zango

    This interview was so annoying, mostly because the interviewer put things on Joshua's mouth. When talking about the song that he listened to, he said that when he listened to the song he felt good, that it would help him with the anger and hatred issue, while the interviewer made it look like he murdered his parents because of the song. Also about the videogames, he didn't say that he felt like he was on any game, yet the interviewer asked him "So there was no reality check, like, for how long did you think you were on the game?" He had issues, that's for sure, it is a total shame that the whole incident happened, but you can't blame everything on this guy's life nor to his like for music, videogames and movies. One more thing, you can't have assalut riffles on america, this is something that has been prohibited not so long ago, I thought it was rather unneeded for him to say "thank god I didn't had an assault riffle", I feel bad to say this but it does look like he was told to say these kind of things on the interview.

    August 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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